Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi has announced that a commission of inquiry will investigate a stampede that claimed the lives of two people during a Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates game last month.
During the pre-season Black Label Cup tournament‚ two supporters died and 21 others were injured while making their way into the FNB stadium.
Nxesi said his department has appointed Judge Ronald Pillay to chair the inquiry while two other members are still to be announced.
“The safety of fans must always be a priority. It cannot be that loyal fans go out to enjoy a day of sport only for tragedy to befall them‚” said Nxesi.
Nxesi was addressing the media in Cape Town on Wednesday about ministerial commissions his department was establishing.
He said he was aware that the Premier Soccer League was doing its own investigation but since the matter was of a serious nature‚ government had to take a lead.
The commission will look at issues like stadium design‚ government legislation on such events and effectiveness of operational planning and procedures.
“The inquiry will also seek to determine whether the law was contravened. I need to make a point that any such violations uncovered by the inquiry will automatically be referred by the chairperson of the inquiry to the NPA‚” added Nxesi.
This was not the first time that a stampede claimed lives of fans during a game between Pirates and Chiefs.
In 2001‚ 43 people died at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
During the same media conference‚ Nxesi announced the establishment of another inquiry into the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.
He said the inquiry was as a result of numerous serious allegations made by individual board members.
The allegations included issues of poor governance and “non adherence to the SASCOC constitution – and the failure of the SASCOC board to respond adequately to those allegations”.
“Fundamentally‚ the issue here is this – that the integrity of our national sports structures must always be above reproach – to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders‚ ” said Nxesi.
The two commissions have a month to finish their work and report their findings to Nxesi.